Artie Shaw – “Stardust”

star_dust

Year: 1940

“Stardust” is another masterpiece written by the famous Hoosier Hoagy Carmichael, who also wrote one of my favorite Chet Baker recordings. Among the 2,000+ recordings of Carmichael’s song, the piece is often associated with clarinetist and bandleader Artie Shaw, who uses his beloved instrument to inspire a sort of twilight gleam that is both beautiful and lonesome, and it’s in line with the song’s theme of “a song about a song about love.” The piece begins with a solo Billy Butterfield playing an unaccompanied trumpet line that is soon joined by more horns and a string section. Then Shaw comes in with his Clarinet and steals the show with a somewhat formless melody. It’s not easy to whistle to or to play back from memory. That’s part of the song’s magic; it floats around, unreachable by reason but always resounding with the listener.

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